Costa Rica has made the semifinals of CONCACAF’s Women’s Championship USA 2014 following an easy 6-1 victory over Martinique on Tuesday evening.
Las Ticas moved forward with a perfect 3-0-0 record that allowed them to finish on top of Group B in a tournament that will award three direct spots for FIFA’s World Cup in Canada next year.
La Sele made the match, played on a rainy evening at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., look easy, and head coach Carlos Avedissián even took the liberty of resting several key players, allowing others to gain experience for the World Cup.
Among them was 15-year-old Gloriana Villalobos, who earned her spot on the national team following outstanding performances earlier this year at both the U-17 World Cup in Costa Rica and the U-20 World Cup in Canada. Villalobos, the U-17 captain, is the team’s youngest player.
The opener came early in the match in the seventh minute, with a Fabiola Sánchez’s header from a corner kick that went between goalie Hubbel’s legs. The second was a brilliant solo play by Carolina Venegas, who dribbled by two defenders and finished with a crossed shot at the 25th minute.
From that moment on, Costa Rica completely dominated, and at minute 32, Wendy Acosta scored off an assist by Katherine Alvarado. Las Ticas maintained control of the ball and went to the halftime break with a 3-0 advantage.
Watch highlights, courtesy of CONCACAF. Check out Venegas’ bicycle kick goal at the 3:30′ mark.
Martinique, winless at the tournament, sought to make a mark on the competition and entered the second half with every intention of scoring. Their chance came when a free kick from the midfield line was played just inside the area, where Carin flicked a header towards the net that skipped on the slick surface beyond Tica keeper Yirlana Arroyo and into the back of the goal at the 62nd minute.
A few minutes later, Carin was close to scoring again with a shot that went wide left.
Sensing a momentum shift, Avedissián brought in one of his top players, Raquel Rodríguez. In just two minutes, Rodríguez scored in the 82nd and 83rd minutes Costa Rica’s fourth and fifth goals. That allowed La Sele to regain control of the game.
In the final seconds, Carolina Venegas scored the best goal of the night, in the 90th minute. She moved inside the area to receive a pass from Alvarado, and with a spectacular bicycle kick sent the sixth and final goal home.
“We are now focused on the Trinidad and Tobago match. We know it is not an easy opponent, but we have faith in the girls and we know we can get results,” coach Avedissián told members of the media following the game.
After finishing at the top of Group B by taking down Mexico (1-0) and Jamaica (2-1), Las Ticas will face Trinidad and Tobago, who finished second in Group A. The match is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. (Costa Rica time) at Philadelphia’s PPL Park.
Later on Tuesday, Mexico’s 3-1 win over Jamaica earned El Tri the final spot in the semifinals. Mexico will play the U.S. at 5:30 p.m., also at PPL Park.
The CONCACAF Women’s Championship will qualify its top three finishers directly to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the fourth-placed team earning the right to face Ecuador, South America’s fourth-place finisher.
Martinique 1 – 6 Costa Rica
Martinique: 1 Benedicte Hubbel, 5 Guillou Johanne, 8 Lena Mauconduit, 10 Audrey Bernabe, 11 Sylvia Solbiac, 12 Carin Prisca, 13 Loriane Martial, 14 Catherine Noel, 15 Mandy Jacques, Nathalie Rangoly 17, 18 Aurelie Rouge.
Coach: Charlaine Marie Jeanne.
Costa Rica: 18 Yirlana Arroyo, 2 Gabriela Guillen, 19 Fabiola Sanchez, 8 Daniela Cruz, 20 Wendy Acosta, 16 Katherine Alvarado, 7 Gloriana Villalobos, 4 Mariana Benavides, 9 Carolina Venegas, 14 Jesmi Rodriguez, 15 Cristin Granados.
Coach: Carlos Avedissián.
0-1 Fabiola Sánchez (7’)
0-2 Carolina Venegas (25’)
0-3 Wendy Acosta (32’)
1-3 Prisca Carin (62’)
1-4 Raquel Rodríguez (82’)
1-5 Raquel Rodríguez (83’)
1-6 Carolina Venegas (90’)